The boys ambled home. It was late in the afternoon; they were tired. They got the comics book stash from beneath the bed and selected a few titles. As they lay under the cottonwood tree thumbing through the pages of "Buck Rogers in the Twenty-fifth Century" and "Mickey Mouse" and "Plastic Man" they gave very little further thought to the scientific endeavor they had launched this day. Perhaps how little thought will become evident with the dawning of a new day.
Wednesday morning broke, bright and fair. Another lazy summer day. The boys departed their respective homes to meet by the lilac hedge* with the ingredients gathered the previous day, along with a mortar and pestle from the chemistry set and the two near-empty adolescent heads they carried with them everywhere.
The first order of business was to build the rocket. A scavenger hunt was the order of the day. Passing up and down the neighborhood alleys the boys scrounged for necessary parts. They did not know what they were looking for, but they would recognize it when they saw it. Eureka!
Just there, in Mrs. Nordyke's ash pit, was a cylindrical object about nine inches in length and two and one-half inches in diameter! Verily, a rocket! and with so little need of modification, for it was made of steel, completely sealed except for a quarter-inch orifice on one end.
Ailerons and stabilizers? Pffft! it is to scoff, for the launch platform will so perfectly aim it that it cannot fail to go airborne. All that remained was to grind and mix the fuel, and fill the fuel chamber, which, as it turned out, was pretty much the entire interior of the spent bug-bomb, for that was what the can was, an early 1940s aerosol can, one of the very first.
The preparation was much more tedious than this account, if you can imagine that. For they also had to devise an ignition device. This was accomplished by mixing a "secret" ingredient in water, soaking a length of kite string in the solution and allowing it to dry. Overnight. So it is back to the library for more adventures with Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, and perhaps Captain Marvel.
[to be continued, with apologies to Chuck] © 2011 David W. Lacy
*The lilac hedge and Nordyke's are on the map.